The best laugh I’ve had in some days, is from an article in the Ottawa Citizen telling us that the Ontario government could be heading for a major confrontation with the province’s public service unions as the Liberals try to address a $25-billion deficit. Apparently, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan recently informed public-sector union leaders that all options will be on the table when the government puts together its next budget.
One might take this seriously if the article was about the former Tory government of Mike Harris in the 1990s, or even the current Stephen Harper government in Ottawa. But surely not the Dalton McGuinty gang at Queen’s Park.
McGuinty does not have the stomach for a major confrontation at any time let alone this close to his next general election. The Ontario Grits didn’t have the spunk to take on teachers’ unions when Gerard Kennedy was minister of education. Kennedy simply bought peace with the teachers by giving them rich contracts, which soaked up increases in education spending at an outrageous rate, at the expense of classroom spending that might actually have benefited students.
McGuinty didn’t have the backbone to facedown the uprising in Caledonia when members of nearby aboriginal communities unlawfully occupied land developed by an Ontario company. McGuinty simply bought the land with taxpayer money and gave it to the protesters. Well, McGuinty didn’t exactly give the land away, but the result is as if he had.
And what credibility does McGuinty have with the unions after recently announcing $1.5-billion for an unnecessary kindergarten expansion? Who can blame union members for questioning why they should face cuts when extravagant new programs are being implemented?
We’ll never see McGuinty and his blowhard Finance Minister Dwight Duncan take on the public-sector unions in any meaningful way. They’ll posture and bluster for voter consumption, but in the end they’ll make their backroom deals that we’ll all have to pay for. You can bet that, if the Tim Hudak Progressive Conservatives don’t beat the Liberals in the 2011 election, it will be tax increases that pay down the deficit, not spending restraints and cutbacks.
Return to Main page »
© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.